It’s been three weeks since I got my iPhone and made it my primary cell phone. Now that the hype has settled down and I’ve finally had a chance to use the iPhone in the real-world practice, it’s time to separate the hype from the reality. First, let’s talk about the strengths of the iPhone and where Apple was actually able to meet the expectations of the phone.
Excellent Build Quality
Although Apple has had troubles with their Macbook Pros overheating, the Macbooks discoloring, and iPod screens scratching, the iPhone is clearly different. Not only has the iPhone screen remained scratch-free in real-world use, but it still has a solid feel to the buttons and fits comfortable in a pocket. In one regard, the iPhone isn’t a first-generation product – it’s the result of the experience of five (point five) generations of iPods.
Although my iPhone has done well in my pocket without a case or protective film, Alexis is currently testing several different screen and body protectors for the iPhone. Some of the ones he has tested are designed with the same 3M protection film used for automotive protection. The better models are able to preserve the clarity of the screen while also providing a slicker surface for the sensor.
In a discussion of build quality, I have to talk about the iPhone’s lack of a user-serviceable battery. While a sealed iPhone theoretically improves build quality, the lack of a user-serviceable battery is not a technical decision but a decision Apple made for the benefits of its shareholders rather than its customers. They know that the iPhone’s capabilities are so compelling that most users are willing to overlook the lack of a serviceable battery. It’s not so much a design flaw (the battery life is good enough where I can’t imagine anyone “swapping out” for a new battery) as it is an Apple luxury tax.
It’s like buying a Bugatti Veyron. Sure, a reasonable person could claim that Bugatti is fleecing its customers by selling a car with 1001 horsepower, when there are very few stretches of a roads where you can actually take full advantage of that power safely, but it doesn’t mean that Veyron owners are being “fooled” by the Bugatti, and that they’d be better off in more economical diesel car.
In other words, iPhone owners aren’t being conned by a reality-distortion-field and we’re not so stupid that we don’t realize that Apple is taking a few extra bucks from our wallets. We’ve just accepted that as part of the cost-of-ownership because we feel the benefits of the iPhone outweigh its cons.